On April 30, 2019 The Nikkei Asian Review first reported that the F-35 was found.
According to Nikkei Asian Review Article U.S. Air Force commander told reporters here Monday that the F-35A stealth fighter that crashed off the coast of Japan had been located, and that recovery efforts were underway.
“The aircraft’s been located. … It’s now in the recovery aspect,” said Charles Brown, four-star general and commander of the Pacific Air Forces, in a briefing for reporters in New York.
But later in the day, Colonel John Hutcheson, the director of public affairs at U.S. Forces Japan, deny that news and said “the aircraft has not been located at the bottom of the sea.
The U.S. military is still working with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force to locate the wreckage.”
US and Japanese forces were involved in the search efforts ever since the aircraft crashed in April. Both militaries spared no expense on the intensive search, fearing that rival nations like China would find the $126 million fifth-generation aircraft.
The downed aircraft marked the first time an international ally has lost an F-35. Parts of the wreckage were previously discovered by search-and-rescue teams.
This particular F-35 was the first one assembled in a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plant and was piloted by a veteran who had 3,200 hours of flying time, according to Defense News and Reuters. The pilot reportedly had 60 hours of flying time in the F-35.
Other F-35s from Japan’s fleet have displayed issues and conducted emergency landings in the past. Five of the jets reportedly made seven emergency landings and had problems related to its fuel and hydraulics systems.